Ten Hag hails 'inspirational' Man Utd captain Fernandes

AFP , Friday 28 Apr 2023

Erik ten Hag has urged Manchester United's players to follow the example of skipper Bruno Fernandes to further embed a winning culture within the club.

FILE - Erik ten Hag has a word with Bruno Fernandes. Photo: Trevor Collens/AFP


The midfielder wore a protective boot last night after injuring his ankle during United's FA Cup semi-final win against Brighton at Wembley on Sunday, but recovered to lead the side in Thursday's 2-2 draw with Tottenham.

Fernandes set up Marcus Rashford to score after Jadon Sancho had put the visitors ahead in north London.

But Spurs, from 2-0 down at half-time, recovered to gain a point thanks to goals from Pedro Porro and Son Heung-min.

The result left United six points ahead of Spurs -- and with two games in hand -- in the race to finish fourth in the Premier League.

And having already won the League Cup this season, United could complete a domestic cup double when they face local rivals Manchester City in June's FA Cup final at Wembley.

In the meantime, United manager Ten Hag said his players could all learn a lesson from the attitude of Fernandes.

"It was tough, a big compliment on Bruno. He absolutely doesn't want to miss this game and he did everything to get fit.

"I think he is the example, and that you have to suffer and you have to sacrifice when you want to play on the top level, you want to achieve something.

"So once again he showed there how great a captain he is, how he has taken responsibility, even when he is not 100 percent fit.

"But he did the job, he was important in this game as well. Hopefully the team can, not learn, but see him as an inspiration and do the same."

United's draw with Spurs was the second time in two weeks they had squandered a two-goal lead, following their collapse against Sevilla in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

They subsequently slumped to a 3-0 defeat in the return leg in Spain to end their hopes of European silverware this term.

United have also suffered an embarrassing 7-0 loss to Liverpool in the course of the current campaign but, as Ten Hag pointed out, they have also beaten the top two in the Premier League and the La Liga leaders as well.

"We had some games I like," said Ten Hag. "Two weeks ago against (Nottingham) Forest (a 2-0 win), I think that was almost optimum. You see it's not so easy to play Forest, you see Liverpool struggling, you see Brighton struggling there. That was a very good performance on our side.

"We had more games, I would have to think which games. Especially I think City (at home), that was a brilliant game. We had more, I think Arsenal, both games we played very well. We had many games where we were very dominant.

"Betis, Barcelona. So we had our games where we played very good football," he added.

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